Guard your honour

Hugh Kelsey ( Scotland )

One of the most respected and prolific of bridge writers,  HUGH KELSEY of Edinburgh died in 1995, in his late sixties. He had represented Scotland in twelve Camrose matches, a competitor at bridge tournaments all over the world, he represented Scotland in twelve Camrose matches, won the Gold Cup twice and every major Scottish title many times, won the Gold Cup twice and every major Scottish title many times. Two of his books, Advanced Play at Bridge and Killing Defence at Bridge are considered by The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge to be 'mandatory requirements for a modern technical bridge library'. In total he wrote forty-five books.


MANY stories are told about that legendary giant of former days, P Hal Sims, who disliked taking losing finesses. Once, when faced with a two-way finesse, Sims turned his formidable gaze on his left-hand opponent and declared: 'You look like a lady with the queen of spades.'

'Oh, Mr Sims,' gushed his victim. 'Aren't you wonderful!'

Players made of sterner fibre than the anonymous lady often have difficulty in concealing the queen of spades against a high-level contract. By 'the queen of spades' I mean any vulnerable trump holding which may be worth a trick if the play develops favourably. There is an art in deflecting declarer from the winning path in such situations.

South is the dealer at Game All and the bidding proceeds:

              SOUTH   NORTH

1♦          1

1♠             2♣

3NT            4♠

4NT1           5♠2 



1 Roman Key Card Blackwood

2 key cards plus the ♠Q


Suppose you are West with these cards:


♠  J 6 4 3

  9 8 2

A10 5 2

9 5

You have hopes of defeating the slam in your own hand, but declarer is likely to have a two-way finesse position in spades. How can you point him in the wrong direction?

A lead that can be ruled out straight away is the ace of diamonds. Cashing the ace could persuade South that you have hopes of a trump trick, and this is the last impression you want to give. What about a heart? Any heart lead through dummy's suit will suggest shortage. Reasoning that if you are short in hearts you may be long in trumps, declarer will probably take the right view in the trump suit.

That leaves clubs. Most players would select the lead of the club nine. This, again, is less than satisfactory, for it suggests short clubs and long trumps. You want to give the impression of long clubs (and therefore short trumps), and the way to do that is to lead the five. No risk is involved since you do not need anything from partner in the club suit. The full hand might be:



South Dealer

K Q 9 7




Game All

 A Q J 7 3





 8 6





 K 4









J 6 4 3




 9 8 2


W                         E

 10 5 4

 A 10 5 2



 J 7 3

 9 5



 Q J 8 7 3 2









A 10 8 2





K 6





K Q 9 4





 A 10 6




Your lead goes to the jack and ace, and you naturally put in the six when declarer plays the two of spades to dummy's queen. Placing you with long clubs, declarer may go wrong by continuing with the king of spades from the table.


My BOLS tip is:  

Leading Unorthodox Cards Against Slams
Brings One Lasting Satisfaction.  

This tip is particularly effective when you have potential but uncertain trump trick.